Wednesday, December 19, 2012

 
 
'Twas 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
When 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"Where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"This is heaven." declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
But Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
Those children all flew into the arms of their King
And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
One small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
Then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"May this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"Come now my children, let me show you around."
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."


Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA
 
 
A beautiful expression of the tragedy that has brought so much sorrow.  Praying for God's covering of Grace for every loved one and friend of the precious souls taken at Sandy Hook.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Squidging

Inspiration had come, now how to create it?
I was super excited about this project!  It was going to stretch me as an artist.  I had to work out details of creating I'd never tried before.

I thought about several ways I could go about it, trying to picture what each would look like when finished.  Probably more thought and planning went into this piece, than any other I've attempted.  Nothing is perfect, and I know I can't always anticipate what I'll encounter.  But, launching into this detailed and time-consuming project, had my gut clinching with fear I'd mess it up.  The let-down would be huge, not to mention the wasted cost of the silver.

I wrote out some details, drew diagrams, and trashed some of the ideas.  How am I going to make it look like individual windows?  How will they spiral?  Do they touch? Overlap? Is it one long spiral of textured clay, with window cut-out's?  How do I add color? 

You think I sweated over this for awhile?

Finally, I settled on a plan of action.  I decided to create a slender spiral of metal clay, as a base.  Then, I chose a texture sheet that looked like I could make several 'windows' with cut-outs.  I drew everything to scale on paper, drew a bail I liked; then measured and calculated the number and size of the windows.  I needed twenty-two individual windows, with one round center circle.  Oh boy, I had some filing and sanding ahead of me! 

The next question....how am I going to get the windows to attach to the spiral?  This piece already involved a fair amount of silver clay.  I don't want to add more if I don't have to!  I wonder if I could squidge those windows in place?  Would they adhere to the spiral and stay aligned, considering the shrinkage when fired?  Yikes!  Another gut moment.  I really like the idea, and I was excited about the way it would look, if I could get it to work. 

Squidging is one of the coolest things I've discovered.  Thank you, Kate McKinnon!  I found out about squidging through Kate McKinnon's book Sculptural Metal Clay Jewelry.  Squidging is the process of joining two cleanly cut pieces of greenware together, using a small amount of water.  You wet both areas of the pieces you want to join, allowing the clay to absorb the water and become a little sticky.  You then slide the two pieces back and forth against each other, using a gentle pressure.  Keep in mind where you want them to align, because they will quickly begin to stick together.  Once the movement between the two pieces stops, they are firmly bonded. 
 I LOVE SQUIDGING!

Here are three of my jewelry pieces I created by squidging:

Lotus Pendant

Endless Summer Cuff

Endless Summer Necklace

Ok, I'm going to squidge it! 

Come around for another visit, and I'll tell you where I go from there.

Do you have a favorite technique you've discovered or learned from someone else?  Will you share it here?

And, before I go, I'd like to say....
Being a book lover, I buy a ridiculous amount of books.  But, I have learned so much from the tips and sharing of so many incredibly wonderful artist in this world.  Some of the books and tutorials I've purchased contain similar information, naturally, because they are teaching the same medium.  But, there always seems to be one or two little tidbits in each that imparts something new.
Knowledge is power....and inspiring....and brings confidence!
There is a thrill in discovering something new.
You don't have to go as book crazy as I do, the library is a great resource to start with.  But, I encourage you to learn from the artist around you; they have so much wisdom to impart.
And, I highly recommend Kate McKinnon's book, Sculptural Metal Clay Jewelry.  It is fun, educational and worth your coin!

Have a blessed day!
Dana



Friday, June 29, 2012

Inspiration

Inspiration comes in many forms, and occassionally at the most inopportune times. 
When I'm driving or walking the dogs', and my hands are otherwise occupied, or there is not a pencil or piece of paper in sight. And I, unfortunately, have a need to write it down or draw what's pictured in my head.  Oh, I'm thinking, "I'll remember this!", but inevitably I don't. 

But, on this particular piece, inspiration came from a handy source, a magazine article with the web address included:  www.thanksgiving.org. Yes!  Not only that, but this beautiful stained glass spiral exists physically in my own backyard, Dallas, TX. 

(Photo from Thanks-Giving Square, Dallas)

It is called, The Glory Window, spiraling upward into the 60-foot-high ceiling of the Chapel of Thanksgiving.  According to the website, this is one of the largest horizontally mounted stained-glass pieces in the world. The window was designed by French artist Gabriel Loire. And, (directly quoting the website) it 'symbolizes the blessing of the Divine descending to earth as well as the ascent of human praise and gratitude to God'.

Incredible, isn't it? 

I was so moved by this photo!  It's beauty, design, and far more importantly to me, it's meaning!  It is absolutely STUNNING!

You know how you start to get that little prickling along your skin?  The warm flow of blood courses through your veins, and your brain starts firing little ideas at you? You begin thinking, "what if?" and "could I?"
I started wondering if I could create a spiral pendant that looked like these stained glass windows.  Can you imagine wearing a necklace that continually reminded you of God's blessings descending down to you, and your praises and gratitude ascending up to God? 
This jewelry design business is, without doubt, an incredible blessing from the Lord.  I had no idea how I would do it, it would certainly be quite a challenge; but I was greatly inspired to try. 

It took months of planning and several 'scratched' ideas, before I completed my 'Praises Ascending' necklace. Not anywhere near the beauty of 'The Glory Window', but a wonderful learning experience and I like the results....


Come back, and I'll tell you how it all came about.....

I would love to know what inspires YOU, please share your inspirations in the comments below.

Blessings for your day,
Dana

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blooming True....

Ever wanted to explore another side of you?  I do. 





I am having so much fun discovering the many layers of creative expression inside. 
I have a tremendous love of color. A fascination with many art forms.  And, a great appreciation for the artists who create in different mediums.  The opportunities to learn from these amazing artists are limitless, and beyond my ability to resist.  Thankfully!

So, I am super excited to be starting my new e-course 'Blooming True' by Flora Bowley.  A unique 'approach to painting (and living) that celebrates intuition, connects body, mind and spirit and allows unique and expressive paintings to emerge naturally and authentically'.
Painting above 'Papel Picado' (in progress) by Flora
Bowley.


'Papal Picado' by Flora Bowley



'Surrender' painted by Flora Bowley


An amazing artist!  And, what fun to paint and explore this creative side of me.
How about you?  Have something new you want to try?  Now is a perfect time to dive in!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Follow Your Dream

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
~Henry David Thoreau

Recently a filmmaker friend approached me with good news.  He had just received a grant to do a documentary.  "I can't believe it," he said.  "I'm finally getting paid for my work.  I can't believe how lucky I am to be doing this."

After our conversation, I thought:  "This person believes that he is earning a living in spite of doing what he loves; but the reality is just the opposite.  It is because he is following his passion that he prospers.  As he aligns himself with his higher purpose, the Universe cannot help but make straight, smooth, and perfect his way."

People who say, "Be practical," don't realize that following your heart is the most practical thing one can do.  There is no greater way to ensure success than being true to who you are.  On the other hand, there is nothing more likely to block that success than turning away from your calling.  Living at cross-purposes with your true nature creates struggle and lack of fulfillment at a deep level.  It is hard to be someone other than yourself.

The lesson is clear:  As impractical as it may sound, the safest and most secure way to lead your life is to follow your dream.

This was forwarded to me by my dear friend Val, who thought of me when she read it.  She warmed my day.  Thought I would share it with you.
                                                                                            ~Dana

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Elevating My Ordinary!

'Elevate the Ordinary', what a great title for the photography ecourse I am taking created by Andrea Scher.  And, what fun I have had so far.  I decided to take the ecourse for several reasons.  I want to understand and make better use of my camera (it's a pretty cool camera)....take better pics....document the progression of my jewelry....see things with a new perspective...art journal my days. 

Here are some of my first shots:


This is Chino, my son's Chihuahua Yorkie.  He is the sweetest little guy.  I love this pic of him.

I was fascinated that the same scene, framed or turned differently completely changed the way you perceived it.  Asked to think about what draws us in, this is what I found....


Color!  I bit of a stretch finding much in February in my backyard!


Closeness and detail.




Lines and angles.



Shadows and shapes.

Now remember, these are the first shots.....quality of photo will come (I'm hoping).  My perspective is changing. This is so much FUN!

Grabbing my camera.  Gotta go!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dreaming Big!

     I am taking an incredible ecourse called 'Hello Soul, Hello Business', created by two amazing women (Kelly Rae Roberts and Beth Nicholls). What an apt title for this ecourse and so applicable to my jewelry business.  It is amazing to me how God brings things into my life exactly when I need them.

     'Hello Soul, Hello Business' has two phases:  the dreaming phase and the doing phase.  We are currently dreaming.  Allow me to directly quote Kelly Rae in explaining: 'the dreaming phase is all about defining the soul of your biz and smartly organizing everything about your biz around your mission, your purpose, who you want to serve, how you want to serve them, and with what you want to give to the world through your biz'. 

     This is my defining, I thought I'd share it with you....
    
     A little background, this all started about a year and a half ago, when in the midst of turmoil God gave me a new song.  New Year's Day 2011, mid-morning sitting on the back patio with a steaming cup of coffee, 6-inches of snow on the ground in Allen, TX (amazing!).  I glance up and see a lone rose standing bravely among the winter ravaged thorns, it's face lifted to the sunlight, pedals gently unfolding. 

     I saw myself, and God's whisper of Hope.  And, my heart lifted.  I had come through the storm, and though it may not be over, I was standing in His light.  And, He was giving me a new song.  The jewelry design and business is a gift from Him, it feeds my creative soul.  My "something better born from Grace".  When I figured that out, I wanted to use it to serve Him.

     My WHY...God gave me this creative passion for jewelry design.  And, in the process of learning and creating, I am refining.  He teaches me things about myself and about Him.  I want to share that with other women.  He sees you, and He sees me.  He is doing this and I am expanding.  I didn't know I had this in me.  It's like the disjointed notes have been rearranged and now a beautiful melody is playing.  I want to use the financial and the knowledge to serve Him.

    My WHO...mostly women.  We are unique, individual, beautiful, spontaneous, nurturing, soulful, loving, silly, enlightened, and quirky.  We each have a story.  We can learn so much from each other.  I want to reach out to and surround myself with those who celebrate the unique, who love to see the processes and the results of God's Hand in our lives.  Those women who need encouragement, to feel special, feel pretty (inside and out), those who need hope.  God led me to a special WHO, also.

     My WHAT...jewelry, blogging my insights, my progress and failures, teaching, tutorials, craft donations, mentoring and workshops.

     Our third week in, we were told to DREAM BIG, and remove from our mind all the obstacles (financial, physical, etc).
     DREAM BIG....really BIG!! When I let the dream rocket go, I was bombarded with crazy ideas swirling through my brain at warp speed. Dream Big you say, OK here goes.....now let's see where God takes all of this!!